These are interesting times for business sustainability. The world is changing and businesses that are not transparently seeking sustainable practice will increasingly be left behind. However, it still takes real courage to fully commit to sustainable practice.
Bath House are artisans of fragrance, bodycare, handcare and skincare. They operate in a sector full of polluting chemicals, single-use plastics and energy-intensive production. Sustainability in this context is both challenging and costly, and therefore inherently risky. It’s a risk that Bath House are taking, recognising not only their responsibilities to the planet but also the rapidly changing nature of consumer demands.
Re-fillable aluminium (pictured) and glass containers are being introduced across the board, a recycling service for the refill pouches is being provided, ingredients are 98% natural (and increasing), all production is in England close to their six shops… the list goes on.
They’re very worthy of their Green Small Business certified status and thanks to a lovely Christmas gift, I can also highly recommend their Bergamot & Amber fragrance! 🙂
Sustainable cosmetics is just one aspect of our work. Check out our case studies to see the host of other business types going green.
Ventorq are as clear an example as you will find of the way in which the world of business is changing. In two ways:
Firstly, in terms of what they do. As an Ecommerce consultancy, they help their clients, from brewers to fashion houses, to thrive in the world of online business. They provide support and direction with establishing or improving an ecommerce presence, and how many businesses can thrive without that now?
Secondly, in terms of how they do it. Ventorq see environmental sustainability as a business imperative. They are committed to reducing their environmental impact and continually improving environmental performance as an integral part of their business strategy and operating methods. The Green Small Business process provided them with a structured approach to achieving these goals and a means of clearly differentiating their offer. Ventorq founder Richard Hatfield recognised the benefits:
“Primarily, the Green Small Business process provides a clear plan of action to improve the sustainability of the business. Having a live action plan means that you can continue to consider and improve on your efforts. The discussion with Tim raised issues I’d not thought of before and introduced resources that would have taken me time to find. Hopefully the certification will encourage other businesses and clients to consider their environmental impacts further and position Ventorq as a trustworthy and responsible business that doesn’t place profit above ethics.”
An increasing number of construction companies are getting Green Small Business certification, the latest of which is Rubix Construction – a residential construction company with a growing reputation for achieving stunning home transformations across South London.
As a member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme they are required, among other things, to:
- identify, manage and promote environmental issues
- seek sustainable solutions, minimise waste, the carbon footprint and resources
Green Small Business certification proved to be the ideal route to demonstrate their commitment to achieving these goals, providing them with a systematic and practical framework for managing their environmental impacts.
“Green Small Business has given us a clear and achievable plan on how to be more ‘green’. It is making us think more carefully about how we do things, and has given us a framework on how to make improvements. This will not only benefit the environment but also hopefully make the business more efficient and cost effective.”
‘MarTech Consultancy’ was a new one on us but we soon realised it’s one of those things that most of businesses need these days – help with the technology that powers our marketing efforts. Fly are more than just another web development agency with marketing technology expertise though. They offer strategic, business thinking, backed with MBA-level marketing expertise.
This burgeoning and dynamic business have longer-term aspirations for B-Corp status and see Green Small Business certification as a first step in systematically addressing their environmental impacts. Founder and lead consultant, Tim De La Salle, is clear about the benefits:
“I see this as a great first step for us, in baking sensible and meaningful environmental policy into the business. It also allows us to demonstrate to our clients, particularly our not-for-profit audience, that we do mean what we say. In turn, this is a win, win, win; good for us, good for the planet and good for the bottom line”
Inspired by accommodation overseas, St Marks Stays provides a place where groups (and their pets) can have a place to stay and hang out together in beautiful Cumbria, whilst having things organised for them by live-in hosts Joanne and Damian Withers.
Joanne and Damian are committed to making their business as green as possible, particularly by wrestling with the challenges of lighting and heating a large 19th century ex-vicarage and school. Green Small Business has enabled them to think through all of their significant environmental impacts, both negative and positive, and provided them with a structured approach to managing these impacts in the short and longer term. Joanne envisages big benefits for their business:
“The Green Small Business approach gives us a structure to work with and aim for, rather than feeling the task of being green feeling too big to achieve and beyond our finances. Our customers will appreciate the changes we are making by being able to show the certification and it will attract like minded collaborators into our business. It was a very straight forward process and we are so glad we invested in this.”
Green Small Business was established to enable all businesses to think about their environmental impacts, take steps to address them and maximise the business benefits from doing so.
Lots of businesses have now benefited from getting Green Small Business certified but plenty more have thought about doing so and not taken it any further. We don’t take it personally…
From talking to some of those who have downloaded our free guide or made enquiries, one of the barriers to taking the plunge is a fear that they are not ‘green’ enough and that going green could be too challenging.
We do want the process to be challenging. Being Green Small Business certified means something.
BUT we recognise that every business has to start where they are and to move forward at a pace they are comfortable with.
That’s why becoming a Green Small Business involves meeting only two criteria:
- You have an environmental policy and action plan that incorporates all of your significant environmental impacts.
- That the actions in your action plan demonstrate a commitment to addressing those impacts in some way.
The scale and the pace of change in becoming greener is up to you. All we look for is an honest and genuine commitment to continuous improvement.
You might well be an eco-warrior with a radical approach to doing business.
You might equally be a newcomer to thinking about the environmental impacts of your business and with unknown scope for change.
Either way, Green Small Business is ideal for your small business. Download our free guide or check out the rest of our website for more details.
Properly Partners, a start-up estate agency, found Green Small Business to be the perfect small business alternative to getting ISO 14001 certification. They hope to inspire others within their industry to take a principled approach to environmental sustainability.
Founder Michael Whittaker said “I am hopeful that being associated with Green Small Business will lead to extra credibility and recognition within our industry and from clients. I am also pleased that we can contribute to sustainability and hopefully can inspire others within our industry to follow suit, as it certainly isn’t prominent at the moment.
We believe that as business owners we have a responsibility to do what we can to work in a sustainable way. Although we are a small business, there are still steps we can take to minimise our impact, and we wanted to have these in place from day one. We created our own bespoke Environmental management system and policy, which is unique to Properly, and has been certified by Green Small Business. Some of the larger certification schemes are harder to apply to a small business, but GSB’s criteria are easy to follow and very intuitive, we would highly recommend them to any small business owners looking to do something similar.”
Green Small Business has recently had the immense pleasure of working with six inspirational charities to help them meet Big Lottery and EU funding requirements. All six were part of a project funded through the Building Better Opportunities programme, run by the European Social Fund and Big Lottery Fund, which is seeking to tackle the root causes of poverty, promote social inclusion and drive local jobs and growth.
Working through the certification process for Green Small Business enabled all six charities to map out their environmental impacts, both positive and negative, and to clearly articulate their plans for addressing those impacts. For us, it was a real inspiration to hear about the work they do to support some of the most vulnerable people in our society. For them, we certainly hope it was an opportunity to appreciate their potential to make a difference in meeting the environmental challenges of our time.
Some are already blazing a trail. Right2Work provide learning and employment opportunities for a range of different people including those with learning disabilities and mental health conditions. They do so partly through an incredible re-use and recycling initiative, which is diverting huge amounts of local waste from landfill.
If you need an environmental policy or some form of environmental certification for your charity or small business, download our free guide or get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!
Southcombe Gloves, based in the South West of England, has been supplying, designing and manufacturing gloves since 1847.
A fifth-generation family-owned and run company, they take their environmental responsibilities seriously and were keen to demonstrate that to their customers. Green Small Business certification provided them with an opportunity to do just that.
They took on the preparation of their Green Small Business environmental management system themselves, using the free Green Small Business handbook and the linked ‘Making it Easy’ pack. Their policy and action plans are wide-ranging, covering everything from running their premises and manufacturing processes to staff travel and company administration.
“We think it will give confidence to our customers and potential customers that we take our responsibilities to the environment seriously and that Green Small Business has given us a chance to demonstrate this without going down more cumbersome and resource-heavy routes more suited to larger companies” (Alistair Forbes, Southcombe Brothers Ltd).
We are oh so very excited to announce that LIFT, the London International Festival of Theatre, is the latest organisation to achieve Green Small Business certification.
They might be a ‘small’ team but they deliver one of the most important events in the British arts scene, with an influence that reaches far beyond London. Working with artists from across the world to find new ways of seeing the city, LIFT’s rich and varied programming has presented extraordinary events in both conventional theatres and in more unusual spaces such as disused power stations, churches and canal basins.
LIFT is also committed to promoting environmental sustainability and reducing environmental damage caused by its activities, including through the European network of arts organisations IMAGINE 2020. In the long term it aims to become an exemplar organisation in the cultural sector, leading the way in the fight against climate change. LIFT hosts talks and debates that look at arts and environmental sustainability: The Climate of Theatre (LIFT 2010); Future Festivals (2012); Waving not Drowning (LIFT 2012); and Imagine the Great Transition (2013). The 2014 festival had four shows that explored climate change, one of which ‘Longitude’ explored new models of international collaboration using Google Hangouts, to link performances in London, Barcelona and Lagos in real time.
LIFT also recognises that their work can negatively impact the environment. With the help of Green Small Business, they are actively pursuing ways to reduce these negative impacts, whilst maximising their opportunities to positively impact on the environmental awareness of their audiences.
Green Small Business certification also helps the organisation to meet the requirements of funders, such as the Arts Council, who require environmental policies and procedures. It does so in a way which minimises the administrative burden (critical for a small team with a huge role!) whilst maximising the impact on day-to-day activity. Key to achieving this is having a clear environmental policy and a focused and prioritised Green Small Business action plan.
“Our environmental policy is fairly out-dated and often falls to the wayside. It can be difficult to engage the whole team to consider our environmental impact so the Green Small Business approach will be a huge help by clarifying our priorities and giving us clear short and long term goals”. (Dan Jacques, Finance & Admin Manager, LIFT)